Written by Matt Cohen
The sports prediction game is a tough business. However, since there’s no repercussions for being wrong in this instance, I decided to take my best shot at predicting all four of golf’s Major Championships for next year. If any of these are right, maybe I should go buy a few lotto tickets.
1. The Masters
Location: Augusta National Golf Club
Dates: April 9th – April 12th
Prediction: Jason Day
Jason Day is close. In 2011, Day finished T2 at Augusta. In 2013, he finished third. Noticing a pattern? The 27-year-old Aussie seems to thrive in odd numbered years, and I like his chances to finally break through and capture the green jacket.
Day captured his first world golf championship this year, winning the Accenture Match Play Championship back in February. Currently, Day sits at number 8 in the World Golf Rankings and has become a more consistent player.
The real reason I like Day’s chances is his maturity. After an up and down start to his career, Day made 21 cuts in 2013, including 7 top 10 finishes. Day also became a father for the first time back in 2012, and he himself credits fatherhood with helping him grow up as a professional. With his personal and professional life in sync, I’m banking on Day on Sunday at Augusta.
2. U.S. Open
Location: Chambers Bay, Washington
Dates: June 18th – 21st
Prediction: Rickie Fowler
It’s not a matter of if, but when Rickie Fowler is going to win his first major. The charismatic Californian had a breakout 2014. Fowler became only the third player behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to have finished in the top 5 in all four Majors in one calendar year.
Fowler will be 26 at the start of 2015, and still hasn’t hit his prime. A scary thought for someone already ranked in the world top 10.
The unknown here is the course. Chambers Bay is hosting its first U.S. Open, so it remains to be seen how the course plays and how the pros react to it. A links style course, Chambers Bay sits right on the Puget Sound in Washington, so weather could play a factor. Nevertheless, Fowler is too talented to be denied any longer, and he captures his first Major next June.
3. The Open Championship
Location: Old Course at St. Andrews
Dates: July 16th – 19th
Prediction: Henrik Stenson
At 38-years-old, it’s now or never for the Swede, who might be the most underrated and least talked about player on tour. But I love Henrik Stenson’s chances at The Open Championship next year.
Stenson is ranked second in the world. He has spent over 100 weeks ranked in the world top ten and his career high ranking of second is the best by any Swedish golfer. In July 2013, Stenson finished runner-up at the 2013 Open Championship. That year, he also moved up to 3rd in the Official World Golf Ranking, and he won the U.S. PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, thus becoming the first player to win both, and to do so in the same season. Stenson defended his DP World Tour Championship last month.
Forget these accolades for a minute. Here’s why I really love Stenson’s chances next season – the course. The last time The Open was held at St. Andrews was in 2010, Stenson finished third behind winner Louis Oosthuizen and runner up Lee Westwood. He’s said himself how much he loves playing at St. Andrews. With three top three finishes already at The Open, and seemingly getting better with age, I see a Claret Jug in Stenson’s near future.
4. PGA Championship
Location: Whistling Straits
Dates: August 13th – 16th
Prediction: Rory McIlroy
Think I’d forget about the world’s number one? Not a chance. While I won’t predict the so-called ‘Rory Slam’ the 25-year-old superstar won’t be going home empty handed in 2015, and will capture his second consecutive PGA Championship, third overall and 5th Major Championship.
McIlroy nearly won the PGA the last time it was held at Whistling Straits. Back in 2010, a then 21-year-old Rory three-putted the 15th green to fall out of a tie for the lead. His final-hole birdie putt narrowly missed the hole to leave him one stroke out of the playoff between Bubba Watson and eventual winner Martin Kaymer (this was also the year of Dustin Johnson’s famed two-stroke penalty on the 18th hole).
No longer just the baby-faced young talent, McIlroy is clearly the best golfer in the world. He’ll have a chance to win every single Major next season, but if I had to pick just one, it’s the PGA.
Agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me hear some of yours! Leave a comment below or upload a video to Click On Golf with your analysis.